Video and AV News

CT Score Best Picture at the BAFTAs
Tuesday, 13 March 2001

BAFTA, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, specified a high level of video production for the Orange British Academy Awards, which was staged before an audience of 1700 people at the Odeon, Leicester Square recently. For the second year running, they turned to Creative Technology, who fielded the latest 3-chip DLP projection and a state-of-the-art modular LED display. Television viewers saw image magnification projected onto an 8 x 8 modular Lighthouse Technologies LVP-102D (10mm pixel pitch) screen to produce picture reinforcement on a 5.12m high and 3.84m wide canvass. Working through production company Initial, Creative Technology was also responsible for the flanking projections onto the walls, situated either side of the main screen. From its hire fleet, the company designated Christie Digital projectors - a pair of 3-chip DLP X6 Roadsters, offering digitally perfect projection and 5000 ANSI lumens output, plus the utility 7K Roadie, also with the 3-chip DLP engine, and the company’s first purpose-built rental staging projector. The units took their feed from BskyB’s roving cameras.

Superscreen for XFLSuperscreen for XFL
Tuesday, 13 March 2001

XFL, the new spring football league from the creators of the WWF (World Wrestling Federation) celebrated a successful launch on February 3rd that saw a Lighthouse Technologies LVP502 LED SuperScreen begin a unique tour of US stadiums. XFL, a combination of Football and live entertainment, is co-owned by broadcaster NBC and the WWF in a joint venture. For the benefit of watching fans, video screen specialists Screenworks were hired to supply giant LED video screens for the ten-week season, with one game a week, followed by two weekends of play-off games. The screen measures 25 feet high by 50 feet wide, using a total of 96 modules - the largest LED video screen ever to be toured in the United States. This creates an aspect ratio of 2:1, reflecting the WWF’s standard wrestling broadcast format, and the screen is colour corrected for television, with the signal source provided by NBC. A Screenworks crew tours with the screen, rigging it from a staging structure at each venue using chain motors. Screenworks, a division of Live Media Group, has been in the daylight video screen business for 12 years, and this recent purchase of Lighthouse LVP502 modules makes it the largest owner of 20mm screen modules in the US.

 
 
Oxford Street ‘Super Site’ Announced
Tuesday, 13 March 2001

Show Presentation Services (SPS), the audio-visual equipment rental and technical staging specialist, is to install a Barco ‘DLite-7’ LED Daylight Display in the heart of London’s Oxford Street. The venture comes hot on the heels of a further major investment by SPS in 30sq.m of leading LED manufacturer Barco’s DLite-7 daylight display. The venture also heralds the first of a number of scheduled outdoor advertising pilot sites between SPS and London-based Trash Media Plc, the ambient media and outdoor advertising specialist, with whom SPS have formed a strategic alliance. The site, re-booked for a further 12 months, is located at the Cromwell Road/North End Road junction, on the main commuter route into London, and is live 24 hours a day.

 
PSL Stages Management Buyout
Monday, 12 March 2001

The management team at Presentation Services Ltd (PSL), has purchased the assets and business of Gearhouse Group PLC’s Southern UK operation, together with the company’s North American operations. These include PSL and PSL Central, Lighting Unlimited, Set & Stage, Proquip, Presentation Graphics, Gearhouse Multimedia, ConferenceCast and Quorom Travel. In the US, both the Los Angeles and Nashville companies have been purchased. The transaction was concluded on Saturday 3 March and equity funding has been secured for the new company through 3i, with Barclays providing debt funding. The new Group is to be called Presentation Services Group Ltd; all of the companies will be relaunched under the PSL name and will continue to focus on the rental, staging, exhibition and concert touring markets. The new management team comprises Gary Davis, Chris Scadding, Darren Glossop, Irene McLean, Janet Smith, Stephen Rhodes and Nasser Abbas.

 
 
New Megascreen on Right Track
Friday, 9 March 2001

Spectators at the recent Norwich Union Indoor Trials/AAA Championships and Grand Prix athletics meetings at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena were treated to a unique spectacle. Held three weeks apart, the infrastructure for both events was rigged with Unitek’s latest and lightest high-impact LED Megascreen, offering 17mm pixel pitch resolution, designed for indoor and outdoor use. The 6 x 5 (6.7m x 4.2m) modular screen took a feed from six BBC cameras via the mixer in the OB truck, and the magnified action shots not only brought track and field into sharp focus, but formed a vital part of the BBC’s transmission.

 
Isys Adds Advanced Touchpanel
Friday, 9 March 2001

Crestron’s Isys touch panel control system is breaking new ground in converging audio-visual and information technologies, thanks to its ability to operate any number of devices, and link to multiple control systems around the world via the internet. Building on this platform, Crestron has now introduced the TPS-4500 Advanced Touchpanel Control system. The TPS-4500 offers a 12" diagonal touch-sensitive active matrix SVGA display (800 x 600 pixels) with an ergonomic Soft-Touch adjustable screen tilt (30°-80°) design. Colour control graphics, including 2D and 3D icons, photos and animations, are easy to read, even at extreme viewing angles. In common with other Isys products, users can upgrade its capabilities simply by installing optional expansion cards. For example, by installing the optional TPS-VID expansion card, the TPS-4500 can display full-motion NTSC or PAL video on the touchpanel with 256,000 colours.

 
 
Install ExpandsInstall Expands
Wednesday, 7 March 2001

Installation and service subcontractor Install recently completed the relocation of its head office. The new premises, situated within three miles of the M6 and located within a newly built business complex, boast an 8,000sq.ft warehouse, an electronics workshop, a purpose-designed training and conference suite, and an extensively equipped office area. The rapid growth of Install over the past year has meant that the premises are not the only part of the company to have expanded. The 12-strong workforce has increased to 22, based both on and off-site. The most recent addition to the team is John Elves who becomes the company’s new general manager.

 
Avesco Buys Gearhouse Divisions
Monday, 5 March 2001

Following the news last week that the Gearhouse Group and a large number of its subsidiary operations have been placed in administrative receivership, Avesco PLC has acquired the Midlands and North divisions of Gearhouse Group PLC for £4 million. We understand that the business and assets acquired include the operations in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow and at the NEC.

 
 
High Definition at the Hermitage Rooms
Saturday, 3 March 2001

A magnificent exhibition of Treasures of Catherine the Great has been staged to inaugurate the new Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House. The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has loaned more than 500 works of art and paintings, which will be on view to the public until 23rd September 2001.

The décor of the Hermitage Rooms recreates, in miniature, the imperial splendour of the Winter Palace and its various wings which now make up The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. This imperial shell will provide the backdrop for rotating exhibitions from the collections of the Museum in St. Petersburg and other Hermitage-related activities, providing London with a window on Russian art and history.

Although the Hermitage Rooms at Somerset House have been designed to be a palatial backdrop for important works of art, they also feature the latest in high technology display. The technology is discreet: it is used to enhance the visit in a subtle way and most visitors will be unaware that the latest web technology, high definition video, video conferencing technology, flat screen displays, MPEG compression and MP3 audio are all being used.

Electrosonic was appointed to design and build the audio-visual system for the Hermitage Rooms, and the aim throughout was to ensure that the hardware system was completely unobtrusive. The audio visual elements include a film of the interior of the Hermitage, produced by Mosaic Films and presented through a high definition video projection system. There is also a live image of the exterior of the Hermitage, presented on a 40 inch pla

 
The House That Jakes Built
Saturday, 3 March 2001

If proof were needed that entertainment technology crosses all boundaries, then here it comes in the story of the newly constructed Potter’s House worship centre, home to one of the fastest-growing churches in the United States.

This 26,000 member nondenominational church in Dallas, Texas, led by Pentecostalist minister, author and entrepreneur T.D. Jakes, set out to build the country’s most technologically innovative church facility yet. $32 million later they have created a 300ft by 300ft, 8,200 seat venue, dubbed a ‘Smart Church’.

Power and data terminals installed at 200 seats allow attendees to download sermon notes and power point presentations onto laptop computers. Altar attendants are equipped with handheld PDAs to allow immediate input of new member data and ‘prayer needs’. An associated language translation centre features translation rooms with the capacity to simultaneously input and output up to six language translations.

Dallas-based consultants Acoustic Dimensions designed state-of-the-art sound, lighting and MATV systems. They worked with PRG company SPL on the installation of the audio and video systems, the centrepiece of which is a sound reinforcement system similar to the one recently installed at the Tennessee Titans football stadium in Nashville.

With a footprint on the main floor the size of two football fields, no one on the design team wanted the space to feel like a sports arena. A number of acoustic and audio strategies were utilised to make the 8,000+ seat venue feel like a smaller church. Not only di

 
 
TiLE is Official European Show of the TEA
Thursday, 22 February 2001

TiLE will be the official European Show of The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). TiLE is aimed at those who have an interest in the future of location-based leisure attractions, whilst TEA is an international alliance of the world's most talented and experienced professionals in the themed attractions industry. The decision coincides perfectly with the 10th anniversaries of both TiLE and TEA and recognises the close relationship that has built up between the two; the European Chapter of TEA (now TEA Europe) was launched at TiLE 1998 in Strasbourg, France, and has become one of the fastest growing chapters of TEA.

 
PSA Announces New Benefits for Members
Wednesday, 21 February 2001

Following the announcement of the new administration and management set-up of the PSA, a substantial package of new benefits for members has been unveiled. A new membership pack has been produced which includes a personal membership identity card, pre-paid subscriptions to appropriate magazines, training information and course dates, training booking forms, a diary section, book list and contacts, plus a new, truly interactive web site which is updated daily. Birmingham-based Business Media Services Ltd (BMS) recently took over the role of administrative and membership operations of the PSA office. Bob Fox, the head of BSM, told PLASA Media: "It is our aim to ensure that members of the PSA get the maximum possible from their association with us. We have put together this new package to increase the benefits that membership brings."

 
 
Sarner Strengthens Management Team
Tuesday, 20 February 2001

Following an 18-month market research and development project, Sarner International Ltd, a leading audio-visual design and installation specialist, has re-launched itself with a new management line-up which includes the promotion of experienced divisional managers to its board and the introduction of a new corporate identity. The company’s Ross Magri, Michael Bennett, Ian Revens and David Dempsey have joined the Sarner Board. David Dempsey, Sarner's sales and marketing director told PLASA Media: "We reached the conclusion that we needed to re-evaluate the direction of our work and our expectations for the future." As a result, the company has decided to concentrate its efforts on three main markets: the integrated presentation systems market, the corporate production and events market and the design and build of themed visitor attractions and experiences market.

 
Lighthouse LED at Motor Show
Friday, 16 February 2001

Major car manufacturers used 19 large Lighthouse LED video screens for their stands during January's Detroit Motor Show - the first major motor show of the 2001 international calendar and the most important one in North America. The Detroit Show also highlighted the first major commercial use of the new Lighthouse 5mm ultra high resolution LED screen on auto manufacturer Mini's booth. AV rental companies used a total of almost 307sq.m of the Lighthouse 10mm product - LVP102 and 15sq.m of the new LVP202 5mm screen. The Lighthouse video screens featured on the stands of Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes, Mini, Porsche, Toyota, and Volvo.

 
 
Project News
Monday, 12 February 2001

A couple of new developments on the performing arts front. Ballast Construction has won a £14m contract to build the Laban Centre in Deptford, including 13 dance studios and a 300-seat theatre, whilst Newcastle City Council is currently reviewing plans with Newcastle University to develop a £60m arts and heritage complex at the Playhouse theatre site at Barras Bridge. Leisure development continues apace: Government approval has been given for a £30m leisure development at Gloucester Docks which will include a multiplex cinema, restaurants and retail units. Associated British Ports, meanwhile, has submitted plans for a new leisure and retail development at Alexandra Dock in Grimsby, including shops, a restaurant, pub and possibly a hotel. Isle of Wight Council is considering plans from Godshill Park Developments for the creation of a 60-bedroom hotel and conference centre in Wootton and finally Leicester City has won approval to build a £35m 32,000-seat football stadium at Freeman's Wharf.

 
Park Avenue Cyber Seat ContractPark Avenue Cyber Seat Contract
Monday, 12 February 2001

Park Avenue has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to design and build new exhibits for General Motors’ successful Test Track attraction at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. Guests board the Cyber Seats and are taken on a virtual journey, which uses state-of-the-art stereoscopic displays, 3D sound and seats that rotate and vibrate to enhance the experience. This project will be the second ride based around an animated film that Park Avenue has designed, produced and installed at Disney. In July 1998, Park Avenue created the ‘Sparky’ ride film and 18 Cyber Seats as part of the new Innoventions Pavilion within Tomorrowland at DisneyLand in Anaheim.

 
 
PLASA Website's Major Re-Launch
Friday, 2 February 2001

On 1st February 2001, PLASA went online with its brand new website at www.plasa.org. The new site is the latest development in the six-year history of PLASA’s online presence, and continues the organisation’s aim to provide the premier online resource for the entertainment, presentation and event technology industry worldwide.

The new site further develops the extensive and freely-available information resources offered to the industry by PLASA. Now available are fully-searchable databases allowing fast, easy and flexible access to the full listing of 450+ PLASA members; 1,500 industry news items in the online news archive; a comprehensive calendar of industry events, and over 100 titles in PLASA’s Technical Book Service.

PLASA’s Managing Director Matthew Griffiths comments: "Aside from the great new look of the site, I’m especially pleased with the new keyword-search facilities. We provide the opportunity - for free, and within a matter of seconds - to find every news item that a particular company has appeared in on the PLASA News website over the past 18 months. The same applies for searching the membership database for companies, products and services, or for finding details of worldwide industry events. This is what the industry has been demanding from a website like ours, and we’re pleased to be offering such a truly beneficial service."

In addition to providing a valuable resource to the global industry, the new site has been designed to represent all the diverse aspects of PLASA as an organisation - including the A

 
The Redevelopment of RADA
Thursday, 1 February 2001

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) saw the five year Centenary Project of redevelopment and refurbishment come to fruition at the end of last year when the new facility was opened by HM The Queen alongside a host of celebrity guests, politicians and past students. Andy Wood talks to head of sound Colin Brown.

The scheme for the re-development of RADA - one of the premier training establishments for theatre arts and technology - was made possible thanks to a £22.7m grant from the Arts Council Lottery Board, along with £8m of self-generated capital donations. RADA includes a new Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, George Bernard Shaw (GBS) Theatre, John Gielgud Studio Theatre, a recording studio and three control rooms, all of which are linked by a state-of-the-art sound, video and communications systems which allow complete synergy between the performance spaces.

Education is naturally the major emphasis, however, RADA also doubles up as a public performance venue with 16 full productions a year and as such its infrastructure needs to be flexible. For Colin Brown, head of sound and a RADA technical staff member since 1974, the new work involved co-ordinating with the BBC, Theatre Projects, the Oxford Sound Company, builders Laing and project managers Buro Four Project Services, to create work spaces that would allow both practical production and instruction in the same area. The same criteria applied to head of lighting Neil Fraser. The new Jerwood Vanbrugh theatre therefore is the first space in London to use a high-tension steel wire grid, which both lighting and sound

 
 
Dome Auction Could be Postponed
Wednesday, 31 January 2001

The planned auction of the Dome’s contents may possibly die before it even gets going if Legacy plc’s bid for the site is not concluded on 14 February as intended. It appears that the Government and Legacy cannot agree terms, and, as a result, the New Millennium Experience Company has reviewed plans to postpone indefinitely the £10m auction, which is scheduled to start at the end of February. We understand that they may, however, proceed with the sale of some of the site’s assets. If the Legacy bid does fall through, it will mean that other potential bidders, including the Dome's chief executive, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, who has struck an alliance with James Palumbo, property firm Pilton Group and the pop impresario Harvey Goldsmith, may have their wish to keep the venue entertainment-based rather than the business park proposal that was at the heart of the Legacy plan.

 
Project News
Monday, 29 January 2001

Several new projects have been given the green light this month. Dunfermline Athletic has won planning permission for a business enterprise centre, 60-bedroom hotel, swimming pool and leisure facility at its football stadium in Fife. Meanwhile, maintaining a sporting theme, Grimsby Town is expected to start work on a new football stadium at Great Coates in September, having won the go-ahead from North East Lincolnshire Council. Travel giant Stagecoach has submitted plans for the development of a multiplex cinema and entertainment centre at the bus station site in Exeter, and the BBC has begun recruiting 80 staff for a new £4m TV and radio news broadcasting facility in Sevenoaks.

Details courtesy of UK Business Park.

 
 
Reeves Returns to Stage Two
Monday, 29 January 2001

Stage Two Ltd, the Watford-based audio-visual, sound and lighting company, has announced that David Reeves has returned to the company as business development manager to consolidate the company's position in the conference equipment hire and presentation field.

 
Westsun to Open First US ‘Super-Hub’
Monday, 29 January 2001

Westsun International Inc. has announced the creation of Westsun’s first regional ‘super hub’ in Las Vegas, Nevada. When making the announcement on behalf of the company’s executive Board, Rob Davidson, CFO and acting CEO of Westsun, stated: "This is a natural step in our development strategy, one that will allow us to provide our customers with even greater access to our comprehensive equipment pool. It will also shorten lead times, thereby further improving our market-leading service to all of our clients." This new facility will operate under the Westsun Las Vegas banner. Dick Wright, vice-president of West Coast operations, will lead the operation. Anticipated to house in excess of $15 million worth of stock, the new expansion will be complete by May 1, 2001. During the transition, Dick Wright will work closely with Scott Jevons of Westsun Los Angeles. Scott Jevons will lead the Westsun Los Angeles sales team as sales manager, and ensure that it remains a key component of Westsun International’s sales and marketing efforts. Westsun remains committed to providing a high level of personalized service to its existing and new clients.

 
 
Yo! Below
Sunday, 28 January 2001

Simon Woodroffe’s new ‘Yo! Land’ in London’s Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, is the new home for the company’s HQ, as well as the site of the latest Yo! Sushi (featuring a 2,100ft-long conveyor belt which carries dishes to up to 200 diners) and Yo! Below operations.Yo! Below, situated behind Yo! Sushi, provides punters with a rather unusual blend of food, live DJs, Manga videos, massage and singing waitresses. This strongly entertainment-led venue, designed by John Isted, has sourced its show technology from the newly-created Marquee Installations, with MI’s Mark Brown responsible for the design and supply of the system.

"Farringdon combines the best elements of previous sites we’ve worked on, with visuals becoming an ever-increasing part of the landscape. For instance, we’ve now upgraded to the superior quality of plasma displays," said Brown, adding: "It was clear that they wanted the best technology available and the key element is that since the entire trading area in Yo! Below is a performance stage, we needed to achieve even sound coverage."

The components of the system, therefore, had to be carefully selected for their effect on the soundscape. Sennheiser radio microphones are supplied to the performers who strut down catwalks between diners, while Sabine feedback exterminators ensure a clear signal, and a combination of QSC amplification and six tried and trusted RCF Monitor 8s handle the delivery, sourced either from the Technics SL1210 decks, minidsic or Numark CD players at the DJ station, or f

 
PLASA Offers Human Resources
Wednesday, 24 January 2001

PLASA (the Professional Lighting and Sound Association) has recently introduced its latest addition to the range of benefits which it offers to members. PLASA’s new Human Resources service, set up in conjunction with CP Associates HR Consultancy, provides PLASA members with access to professional help and advice with personnel issues. The service is designed to offer practical, independent advice, based on the latest factual information available, and covers areas including contracts & terms of employment; disciplinary and grievance procedures; employee benefits; employment legislation; pay reviews; recruitment and selection; risk assessment; redundancy and absence control.

To use the service, members simply call the PLASA office, and are then given the telephone, fax or e-mail address of CP Associates. They are then entitled to 15 minutes of free advice on any one subject. Where a more detailed or specific consultation is required, PLASA has negotiated highly preferential rates for its members. These might include personnel procedure audits, contracts of employment and staff handbooks, setting a human resource strategy, and new personnel policies or systems. To safeguard the viability of the service, it can only be used by a member company’s PLASA contact or managing director.

PLASA’s Membership Services Manager, Norah Phillips, comments: “We aim to offer our members real advantages in the areas of business and information, and this is the latest in a series of new services which we have introduced with this in mind. We believe that this new fac

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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